Sunday, August 3, 2014

Go Away and Deal With It

Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns….When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” (Matthew 14:13, 15-16)

Last week’s episode of Falling Skies, titled “Door Number Three,” begins with the reunification of Tom Mason’s family. For the first time since the beginning of the season, when yet another alien attack scattered them in many different directions, he is finally in the same place as all four of his children and the woman he loves. All is not well, however. It is stressful enough for Tom to deal with the fact that the young woman before him is his less-than-two-year-old little girl, thanks to her weird human/alien hybrid DNA. Now, Lexi is in a cocoon, and only time will tell whether she remains mostly human or emerges more like the enemy Espheni.

Family issues or not, Tom is a leader and many people now look up to him for guidance and direction in the fight to survive. His oldest son, Hal, comes to him to ask what the next move is, what he should tell the people who are clamoring for answers, listing all the possibilities while Tom mostly tunes him out.

“Yeah, that makes sense,” Tom replies. “Yeah, we’ll do that, we’ll do all that. Stop them from making more human skitters, liberate ghettos, rescue the kids from Matt’s camp. But not today. I just got my family back in one place, in one piece. I’m not going anywhere.”

Hal is not satisfied with this answer: “What should I tell the people? Take a breather? Pretend like we’re not facing the extinction of humankind?”

“You can tell them whatever you want. I’ve given everything to these people. And to this fight. Today I’m going to be here for my daughter.”

Even Jesus needed time away from the people he gave his all to. Matthew places the feeding of the five thousand directly after an account of the beheading of John the Baptist by Herod. The “this” that Jesus heard and that caused him to seek quiet and solitude was the news of his cousin’s execution. Time and space to grieve was not to be had, however, as hordes of people took off on foot and met him on the other side of the lake, clamoring for attention, healing, teaching. As usual, Jesus put aside his personal needs at that point and showed his love for them, but he seems to have run out of patience by the time his disciples get to him. They lack authority or initiative to carry out the plan they have devised, so they bring it to the Teacher. “The people are hungry, send them away so they can find something to eat.”

“You feed them. You are fully capable, adult men. Use your God-given brains and figure this one out. Go away and leave me in peace for a few minutes and don’t come back until you have a solution.”

Amazingly enough, that’s just what the disciples did. It wasn’t much of a solution, granted, and they seem to see it as proof only of the lack of another viable alternative to the plan they presented initially, but Jesus blessed their efforts by blessing the food, and all of the people ate supper that night.

So what are you waiting for?

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